Coming in to camp, one of the most intriguing players on the non-roster invitee list was centerfielder Manuel Margot. Acquired in the Craig Kimbrel trade last November, most Padres followers hadn't had a chance to see the young man billed with excellent range and a good arm in the field, to go along with a solid bat at the plate. It's been a while since we've had anything resembling a five-tool player in the organization, so we were intrigued to see what he can do. Now that he's shown that the scouting reports were honest and accurate, he's been assigned to Triple-A El Paso. At this point it seems only a matter of time until we get to see him roaming the expansive centerfield at Petco.
Margot's final line of .318/.348/.545 only tells part of the story. The aspects of his game that really impressed the team were his centerfield defense. The speed and athleticism was apparent as he tracked balls down on both sides, but the instincts and quick decisions were the difference maker. Andy Green noted how active and engaged he was in each play, citing a particular ball hit down the rightfield line. Knowing that he couldn't back the play up, he raced in and covered second, nearly applying a tag out. That kind of response is rarely seen, and was a welcome sight to a manager who harps on fundamentals and preparation.
"If there's a need, see the need, fill the need, and that's what Manny did." - manager Andy Green
Manuel Margot can defend at a high level. He showed that he can hit near-MLB pitching pretty darn well. Now he will be working in El Paso, next to his corner outfield counterpart Hunter Renfroe, to refine the skills that may be a main piece in the future success of AJ Preller's Padres.